Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

Summary: The promised Kinect sensor for PCs and accompanying software will be out as of February 1 in 12 countries, Microsoft announced at CES on January 9.

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There was next-to-no news during Microsoft's final keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 9 until the absolute end of CEO Steve Ballmer's hour-plus address.

The one tidbit: The Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit which the Softies said late last year would be out in early 2012 is, indeed, on its way. On February 1, both the new Kinect sensor for Windows PCs and the accompanying SDK (under a commercial license, not a hobbyist license) will be available.

From a post on the Kinect for Windows blog:

"Today, we are announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors.  The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements.  Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users."

The new sensor also is available for pre-order via Amazon.com.

The Kinect for Windows sensor looks (from pictures) almost identical to the Kinect for Xbox. But it is designed to work at closer range and to work with Windows 7/8 PCs. In addition to making firmware adjustments in the new Windows Kinect sensor, Microsoft also is shortening the USB cable and including of a “small dongle” to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. The Windows version will modify the Kinect depth camera to see objects that are “as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device” without sacrificing accuracy or precision.

Microsoft execs also said on January 9 that the company has sold 18 million Kinects to date.

Topics: Software, CXO, Hardware, Operating Systems, IT Employment, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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51 comments
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  • Kinect for embedded

    The hidden news here for developers is offical support for Kinect on embedded platform. This opens up Kinect beyond just Windows on PCs but on kiosks, signage, ATMs, and even set-top boxes and TVs.
    lewisbenge
    • This is certainly interesting!

      @lewisbenge
      Does this mean that Kinect will be useful for more applications than games?
      In that case, like what?
      Mikael_z
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @Mikael_z interactive clothing etc shopping, there are sites out there now that can take exact measurements and build you a custom suit using Kinect is one I can think of off the top of my head.

        The point I think is it opens up a huge area for new concepts and ideas
        TGGR
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @Mikael_z
        Like replacing a mouse with hand movements? System wide face recognition? Computer taken measurements?

        In other words... are you serious? Kinect is one of the most amazing technologies released in the last decade and it hasn't even been tapped yet.
        12312332123
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @Mikael_z

        If you check out the Kinect effect video (http://youtu.be/T_QLguHvACs) it demonstrates where things are heading in general. Kinect offers a way of interacting with PCs beyond a mouse and keyboard, in a time when a PC is no longer generalised on the desktop.
        The extension to the embedded platform now allows Kinect to also move into non-typical PC devices too, like ATMs, Kiosk, etc. It opens up a new channel of innovation we previously didn't have.
        lewisbenge
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @lewisbenge
        Thank you for the information!
        Yes, I understand now, it's more like touch but without touching, control from a distance which could be used for anything you can imagine.
        Combined with intelligent voice recognition I can see this as a standard part of future gadgets, as long as it doesn't require much practice to learn.
        Mikael_z
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @Mikael_z, here's where I think (and hope) this is going: With Windows 8 being touch-first, I think we will be able, of course, to use the touch interface on a tablet, but on the desktop we will be able to meld the keyboard/mouse use with gestures. I crave being able to simply use gestures to flip around the OS and, to some extent, control apps. As a musician, I would find it extremely helpful to stay behind my synth/keyboard controller and, using gestures only, be able to stop & start recording of tracts, rewind, etc. without stepping over to use the mouse (not everyone can set up their studio "in the round" or "over/under").
        ScubaDog
  • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

    but its basically the same thing?
    RyanGadz
    • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

      @RyanGadz
      it is the same thing but "near mode" enabled. You could learn more about near mode here at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/kinectforwindows/archive/2011/11/22/kinect-for-windows-building-the-future.aspx.
      Ram U
    • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

      @RyanGadz
      With a commercial license so that you can build software and sell it. i.e. companies will actually put it to use because now they can make a big profit whereas before they could not with a hobbyist license. Its going to completely change how a desktop operates and beyond.
      rengek
  • What about the Apps?

    Are there any Windows-based apps coming that will take advantage of Kinect for Windows?
    smulji
  • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

    Commercial SDK only? What dick heads. Why make a move like this and piss off the community when it will end up pirated within a week anyways?
    Sqrly
    • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

      @Sqrly you have that upside down - commercial means you can sell what you develop if you choose whereas the beta license didn't allow that and was a hobbyist license. More, the SDK is and will remain free - MS want to sell hardware (and mindshare)
      MurphHJS
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @MurphHJS Any idea on the price of the commercial SDK?
        jalbacas
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @MurphHJS @jalbacas - the SDK is free, and for dev you can continue to use the XBox Kinect controller. Microsoft have decided to re-coup revenue on hardware spend, so to use the platform in a commercial setting, or sell Kinect apps you need to be looking at the Kinect for Windows sensor.
        lewisbenge
    • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

      @Sqrly big dummy that's backwards...
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • There was a lot more than what you think

    I just listened to the video.<br><br>In my opinion, there was a lot that confirmed what a number of analysts had previously speculated about Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, tablets, Xbox, etc.<br><br>You just have to read the tea leaves from Microsoft, who a few years ago adopted Apple's limited approach to revealing information about future products.
    easson
    • Hi. If there was more, curious what you heard

      I didn't hear anything new about Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 (not even mentioned) or Xbox TV beyond what we knew already. But if there were tidbits, please share! Thanks MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

        @Mary Jo Foley
        1. Symantic Zoom
        2. Pinching Out from Start Screen to pan through.
        3. Grouping Live Tiles.
        of course all of these are Windows 8 related. But you really listened to the last statement of Ballmer, it is "Metro, Metro, Metro, Windows, Windows, Windows", which makes Metro is their Future and Windows 8 is the starting point of unifying most of their platforms.
        Ram U
    • RE: Kinect for Windows: new hardware and software due February 1

      Ah, the fallen autumn leaves. Computer Science must intercept with poetry, imagine a cyber space or net filled with new 21st century literature custom made for the age of the Internet. C'mon geeks ... let's portray some initative.
      Thanks for reading and best wishes.
      briant11@...